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City readying water plant to address PFAS

Janet Imrick

Randolph Hub


Water Resources Director Michael Rhoney told the Asheboro City Council that they need to get ahead of pending regulations for water treatment. He said municipalities will soon be expected to remove emerging contaminants, such as PFAS, from their water.


Once the regulations are in place, Asheboro will have roughly three years to upgrade its treatment plant to remove PFAS and other chemicals.


"The EPA has not even approved a testing method, but we expect requirements to come down eventually,” Rhoney said at the Mar7 meeting/


Rhoney said they will create the W. L. Brown Water Treatment Plant Emerging Contaminants Planning Project to study different treatment methods. 


The city council approved the request to apply for a grant or loan to pay for a consultant and the evaluation. Rhoney said the Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021 provided $469 million for upgrading infrastructure to handle emerging contaminants.


The city council went into closed session at the end of its meeting to discuss its pending contested case with the Office of Administrative Hearings over a final renewal of the city's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. They voted to make the law firm Cranfill Sumner, LLP their legal representation for trying to secure the permit.


Brooks Pierce Law was representing Asheboro but reported a conflict of interest due to its representation of a utility downstream, which is on the opposite side of a dispute over whether the NC Department of Environmental Quality has authority to set discharge limits on the chemical 1,4-Dioxane into Haskett's Creek.


Also at the meeting, city council gave approval to advertise a public hearing on a lease agreement for New Cingular Wireless' existing array on the South Church Street water tower. The current lease expires in 2025. That public hearing will be at the May 9 city council meeting.